Peace Corps Deputy Director Visits Micronesia

Jody K. Olsen travels to Micronesia to meet Peace Corps Volunteers and partners

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 30, 2007 Peace Corps Deputy Director Jody K. Olsen traveled through the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) from March 26 30 to meet with Volunteers, staff, and government officials.

Olsen said, I came to thank our Volunteers, staff and local partners for their dedication to serving others. I am proud of our 40-year partnership in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau. Since we began in 1966, over 3,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have been dedicated to serving in many fields to improve the lives of Micronesians. (Rt. to Lft.) Deputy Director Jody K. Olsen in a photo during her meeting with Micronesian President Joseph Urusemal and Country Director David Reside.

Deputy Director Olsen visited the Peace Corps Headquarters in Pohnpei and met with staff from the Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau. Olsen met with the FSM President, His Excellency Joseph Urusemal, who has been a strong supporter of Peace Corps. During the meeting President Urusemal fondly recalled when a Peace Corps Volunteer came to teach at his school island in 1966. Olsen said after her meeting, Our organization is very grateful for the close cooperation with the Micronesian government. Its wonderful to see the support our Peace Corps Volunteers receive from the people and officials here in Micronesia. Earlier in the visit Olsen met with Pohnpeian Governor Johnny P. David.

Olsen toured local areas where Peace Corps Volunteers and counterparts in Pohnpei work on health education, culture preservation, environmental research, agriculture training, youth education and English seminars. Deputy Director Jody K. Olsen talks with Mokil Island girls. Peace Corps Volunteer Zack Stepan teaches English in the only island school.

Olsen visited Volunteers at their sites, among which were an elementary school, an island nutrition organization, and a marine research laboratory. She also traveled to the outer island of Mokil, 95 miles from Pohnpei, to visit Volunteer Zack Stepan (Denver, CO) who is leading a very successful English program on the only island school.

Peace Corps entered the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) in 1966 when it was still part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. There are presently 47 Peace Corps Volunteers working with partner agencies in Micronesia. The first group of Volunteers taught English at all education levels. In the 1970s, Peace Corps moved into agriculture, health, and community development. In the 1980s, Volunteers worked mainly in sanitation, forestry, and fisheries. From 2000 to 2005, Volunteers worked on natural resources conservation, community building, and youth development. From 2006 to the present, Volunteers focus primarily on teaching English.

Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Since 1961, more than 187,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 139 countries. At the invitation of host governments, the Peace Corps sends American Volunteers for 27-month assignments, to help countless individuals worldwide who want to build a better life for themselves, their children, and their communities. Today, more than 7,749 Volunteers are serving in 73 countries, including the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau.

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